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Soulful Sounds from Soulville Productions:  Bobby Fulton and Harrisburg Soul

In our modern world of mega-media companies, where corporate giants such as AOL Time Warner, Viacom and Walt Disney dominate both the music labels and the media outlets, the idea of a local musician starting his own recording label seems very unlikely if not downright impossible.

But Harrisburg in the 1960's was a hotbed of soul music talent, and local musician Bobby Fulton saw both an opportunity and a need to record artists who were performing in the area.  No other recording options were then available in the mid-state for soul or gospel artists, so in September 1967, Fulton, who was performing with the bands "The Emperors" and "The Soul Exotics," got together with friends Toby Young, Jimmy Walker and Hulie Diggs to create Soulville Productions.

Soulville 45 "Standing on the Corner" by Watson and the SherlocksLocated on North Sixth Street in Harrisburg, the fledgling company's first release was the 45 Nobody To Blame/Nothing Matters from the nine-member "Soulville All-Stars."  Fulton himself was a member of the R&B "All-Stars," which featured vocal harmonies and horn arrangements in the style popularized by the "Temptations."  Other artists and groups were soon released on the Soulville label and the company soon built up a catalog of R&B, funk and gospel titles which included artists from across the country.

your comments

Bruce Pringle of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware writes "It's great to see work by the Emperors, the Intentions, the Del-Chords and many Soulville artists being released on CD."

"It would be terrific to see the same happen for two other Central Pennsylvania acts, the Soul Exotics ("Darlin'"/"Baby It's True") and the Soulsations ("Here Comes the Pain"). Do you think that's likely to happen?"

Dennis Brennan of Harrisburg announces "In response to Bruce Pringle's comments, yes, there is a brand new CD on the scene. It does include Bobby's "Soul Exotics," & Soulsations. Wanna peek? www.dtb45s.com
Click on the "Capitol City Soul CD!" Thanks, Bobby, for your permission for the Soulville tracks included.
 Dennis"

In response to many requests for more information on the Magnificent Men, Chuck Gillen has provided us with dates, times and links on current activities.  See his letter from August 2006.

Sources

About Dr. Bobby Fulton:
http://home.att.net/~r.fulton/wsb/html/view.cgi-about.html-.html (inactive link)

Mike Shanley, "SoulvilleRevival," in In Pittsburgh Weekly (12/20/2000), reprinted at Get Hip.  Retrieved June 15, 2002 from the World Wide Web: http://www.gethip.com/soulville.html (inactive Web link)

Despite distributing numerous copies of their new titles to area radio stations, the Soulville promotions team had difficulty getting satisfactory airplay, and found that many stations would not promote an entire line from a particular label.  Enter Jay-Walking Records--an Jay-Walking 45 "The Way I Love You" by The Continental 4 offshoot of Soulville, created as a means to get more airplay for Soulville talent.

In 1972, Fulton took an opportunity to work in Pittsburgh as Director of Operations for Black Circle Records.  He subsequently became an ordained Baptist minister and founded Gospel Music Ministries International, a Christian Interdenominational Church Fellowship. The Soulville label continued to release titles for a few years, and according to Rev. Fulton, is still a viable label.  

A compilation of the best of Soulville/Jay-Walking Records was released on Get Hip's Archive series.  Titled Soulful Sounds from Soulville (Get Hip Catalog number: GHAS 5018), the 25-track compilation disc is no longer available from their website, but can be found in CD form from some retailers."

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